This past weekend I found a couple of hours to do something I have been putting off since we moved to Augusta – clean out the garage! Well, in particular, what I did was clean out a couple of filing cabinets that were taking up space in the garage. They were stuffed to capacity and it was high time I did something about it. I created two piles: one was a box that would be sealed and stored in the attic and the other was a box that would be taken out to the fire pit for a proper cremation.
This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. Things like old bank statements and tax returns are relatively easy to deal with – box it up and send it up (to the attic). Most of the other stuff, however, distracted me to the point of near indecision. There was the appraisal for Amy’s wedding band (kept it); annuity statements (burned them); and a handful of church directory pictures for 20 years ago (Amy thinks I burned them, but I secretly re-filed them!). One file was marked “bills” and that proved to be most amusing. I kept the bill from the hospital and doctor when Clark was born 21 years ago. Insurance did not cover that delivery and I guess I kept the bill with the secret hope that the insurance industry would feel sorry of us and reimburse us for expenses. I am still waiting for the check. I decided to hang on to that bill – you can never be too certain. Other items quickly made their way to the fire pit, including pay stubs from previous churches, mortgage paperwork for our first house, and utility statements dating as far back as 15 years ago.
That afternoon I warmed myself to an outdoor fire fueled from tokens of old memories. I am sentimental to the core, so this was not easy for me. Most of this paper was simply trash, pure and simple, but the memories are untouchable. Having a clean(er) garage feels nice, and I suppose we could all stand for a little less clutter, but the real value was being reminded of the investments we have made over the years that have nothing to do with expenses, income, deficits or profits. My babies are young men, my wife is married to an older man, and we know more people just from churches than most folks know in a lifetime of relationships.
The only thing left in the fire pit is a mound of fine ash. My heart, however, overflows.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage. (Psalm 16:6)